A “coordinated cancellation” discussion on how to effectively pull subscriptions and advertising from The Times-Picayune to “send a message” to its parent company is among the activities slated for a “Save The Picayune” rally starting at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Rock-N-Bowl in Mid-City New Orleans.
The protest, according to New Orleans’ Gambit, is in response to the recent announcement from Times-Pic owner Advance Publications that it will shift to publishing a print edition only three days per week starting this fall, in exchange for more digital focus and breaking online news through its website, Nola.com:
The protest comes on the heels of Advance signaling that it’s heard some of the most vociferous complaints made by the paper’s local readership. The garish new “yellow journalism” color scheme of nola.com disappeared early this morning and was replaced by a more sedate blue and gray. Advance also made the color switch at al.com, the web portal for its Alabama newspaper group (The Birmingham News, the Press-Register of Mobile and The Huntsville Times), where layoffs are also expected to begin next week. The renamed Alabama Media Group will be publishing its papers three times weekly as well.
This morning, editor Jim Amoss delivered a memo to The Times-Picayune newsroom staff, reiterating the three-day-a-week printing schedule, but adding, “I want to dispel some rumors: There could be some salary adjustments, depending on changes in job descriptions. But most people will make what they make today, if not more.”
Gambit also notes the rally is scheduled for the same day that Times-Pic employees were supposed to begin one-on-one meetings with company executives over their not-so-certain futures with the company, but those meetings since been postponed. Significant layoffs are expected with the rollout of the new format:
No explanation was offered, and the change was announced verbally, employee to employee, not on paper.
“They didn’t put out a memo this time, because they know by now anything on paper gets out of the newsroom as soon as it’s printed,” said one newsroom employee.
Another employee speculated that Advance Publications, which owns The Times-Picayune, wanted to avoid further bad publicity should any fired employees leave the T-P headquarters or bureaus and go to the support rally — which will be covered live by local television news, and is planned to last until sunset.
MAY 17 Here's a column from James Gill, this time in the Advocate. Gill, who has jumped ship from the Picayune, writes about the absurdity of dueling polls in this post. The numbers are so wildly different, it is obvious that both sides are "cooking the books," he writes. In particular, he looks at Sen. Mary Landrieu, and how her recent actions in DC have been received by those polled. Gill's acerbic, amusing prose is a welcome addition to a paper so conservative as to be occasionally lacking in personality.
MAY 17 Blogger Tom Aswell continues delivering bombshells about the state education department and Gov. Jindal's education "reform" efforts. In this post, he reports that students in the Shreveport area have been signed up for a charter school without their knowledge or consent. Most interesting to Aswell is how this Texas-based charter (with ties to GOP types) got the personal student information it has, if the students didn't give it.
MAY 17 This post by JR Ball in the Baton Rouge Business Report is an interesting tongue-in-cheek look at recent Baton Rouge economic development efforts. Among the items he examines is the idea that gaining a Costco makes BR a "world-class city." (Really? All you need is a different brand of Sam's? MK!) This effort, and other recent ones, are all built on the taxpayer's back, with tax zones, tax incentives and tax rebates, Ball writes.
MAY 17 Blogger CB Forgotston is critical of the legislature's reliance on a revenue-estimating committee's decision to include projected tax amnesty income in this year's forecast. That's a problem, CB posts, because the deadline for these people to pay their taxes is June 30, 2014. So when do you think these people who haven't paid taxes in years are going to pay their taxes? Surely not before June 30, and that means the money won't be there for this year's budget, he argues.
MAY 17 Here's an interesting blog out of California by a Hollywood writer, attorney and academic named Brian Alan Lane. He blogs about higher ed, and was a whistle-blower in a scandal over false credentials. In this post, he takes aim at LSU's new top dog, King Alexander. It's convoluted and a little confusing, but it sure makes Alexander a lot more interesting than he was yesterday.
MAY 17 Blogger Robert Mann writes about the LSU Board's refusal to allow Dr. Fred Cerise to testify before the legislature about Gov. Jindal's plan to close down all the state's charity hospitals and dump the poor on the private system. It's hard to imagine anyone more qualified than Cerise to testify about that, so why would anyone try to prevent him doing so? Mann thinks it is because the powers that be aren't interested in hearing any truth about the plan.
MAY 17 This post on the Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle, a blog that notes developments in the Bayou Corne and Jefferson Island salt domes, talks about a proposed expansion of the salt dome storage under Lake Peigneur in Iberia Parish. Residents are working against it for several reasons, including two biggies: the sinkhole disaster in Bayou Corne and the continuing, unexplained bubbling on the surface of the Lake.
MAY 17 NOLA police arrested more people Thursday accused of either being involved in the Mother's Day shooting or hiding the suspect afterward, this Gambit story reports. The NOLA police chief said he suspects the whole thing was gang-related and throws out a challenge to the gangs: he's got informants now, he says, and he knows a lot more than the gangs want him to know. The people who live in the neighborhoods terrorized by gangs are ready to talk, he says.
Is it a crime for citizens to photograph, video, or take notes of a police officer in the line of duty, or a right protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? Locally, such activity, as witnessed recently, will at the very least result in a night spent behind bars.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
Episcopal School of Acadiana’s Dr. Joshua Caffery, chair of the school’s English Department, is headed to Washington, D.C., and the Library of Congress as the latest winner of the Alan Lomax Fellowship in Folklife Studies.